Thread of Blue
The name, Thread of Blue is a reference to the Torah’s injunction to have Petiel Techelet (Thread of Blue) as the eighth strand of one’s Tallit’s fringes. The ability to produce this special blue strand was lost for centuries when the specific dye required was no longer available. Today we do see tallitot being worn that do have the special blue thread. The true means and method to produce the proper dye has been recovered.
Choosing “Thread of Blue” as the name for our musical group was inspired by the reappearance of the Tallit’s blue thread, a tangible example of a return to early Torah roots. Additionally, our American Musical Roots are inspired by the Blues form, an integral component of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and Rock. Thread of Blue is dedicated to bringing our wide range of musical experience to music based upon Jewish sources.
The members of the group have worked both nationally and internationally with some of the finest musicians in both the Jazz world and the Jewish music scene. They have been noted in Michael Gerber’s history book on the subject “Jazz Jews”.
The group displays great versatility in its performances of a wide range of musical styles from traditional Jazz to music of the great American Jewish songwriters/composers. This includes music from the renowned George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, etc. The group is easily at home in the stylistic realms of Latin music, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, Free Jazz, Klezmer and more.
A unique aspect of this talented ensemble is shown in the way that they have integrated the liturgical aspect of Jewish prayer into its repertoire.
Utilizing modern harmonizations and exotic rhythms, composers Mitchell Schechter and Marty Fogel have created settings that support traditional liturgical melodies, and have composed original contemporary Jazz compositions for our traditional prayers.
In June, 2014, Thread of Blue ensemble was hired to write and perform a Jazz Shabbat service with Cantor Smilowitz at the Jewish Congregation of Brookville in Jericho, Long Island. The musical success of that evening has inspired a further development of the project. The group has been recording their Repertoire, and is now in the process of booking future concerts and events.
When added to this instrumental ensemble, the beautiful voice of Cantor Talya Smilowitz elevates our prayers and our melodies to a higher level. Hearing Cantor Smilowitz sing with Thread of Blue is a spiritually moving musical experience that you will not want to miss.
Thread of Blue is available to perform at Synagogue services, concerts, and educational clinics with insights into the prayers, and the creative process of the music presented.